The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist
Free to Download + Printable (Updated for 2020)
Our minds are preoccupied with so many thoughts that we forget to find out what to pack in the hospital bag. We’ve even started ticking off some important tasks such as painting the baby’s room, filling up their closet, and even saving for their future.
We’re here to help you remember that super useful hospital bag, and tell you what to pack inside!
A lot of mommies are not really sure when to pack in their hospital bag. Even with a due date given by your trusty OB, you’ll never truly know when that tiny human will come out of you. So to avoid this mistake, it’s best to pack around 35 weeks or earlier (no one’s stopping you pretty momma!).
Ready? Keep reading for our hospital bag checklist (which is totally FREE and printable).
Hospital Bag Essentials
Toiletries • Entertainment & Relaxation
Other Important Items • What Not to Pack
If you’re having a vaginal delivery, you’re probably staying in the hospital for one to two days, but if you’re delivering via C-section, it might be three to four days. Still, things might not always go according to plan (or your birth plan!) and it's best to be prepared for any situation. Here’s a list of the essentials to help keep you fresh, clean, comfy and entertained!
Update: Read the CDC's information and advice for pregnant women during COVID-19. Stay safe, momma!
✔ Warm Compression Socks - Promotes blood circulation, provides comfort and relieves swelling. Make sure to pack your favorite pair.
✔ Slip-on Shoes - Easy to slip on and off your swollen feet. It's also easier to move and walk around in these.
✔ Slippers / Flip-Flops - To wear while in the shower or when you go to the toilet. Make sure they're non-skid and a size bigger from your regular (your feet will swell even more after giving birth)!
✔ Bathrobe / Nightgown - You can use the hospital gowns, but bringing your own might help you feel more comfy and yourself.
✔ Birthing Outfit - An old baggy T-shirt or your nightgown will do. It will give you a sense of familiarity during labor and delivery. Just don't wear your favorite ones because they'll get ruined.
✔ Laundry Bag / Plastic Bags - For dirty clothes, towels, laundry, etc. These can be easily tucked in your hospital bag for labour.
✔ Nursing Bras & Tank Tops - Bring comfy ones that are easy to nurse in. Pack a few extras for leakage.
✔ Breast Pads - To protect your clothing from leaking breast milk stains. You might need to change these pads as often as possible so be sure to pack enough.
✔ Maternity Underwear - The hospital will provide mesh undies but they're really not that comfy. Pack a few old, cotton underwear that are extra-stretchy and you don't mind being ruined. Or just buy maternity undies which are bigger and great for moms who are getting a c-section.
✔ Towel (Dark / Printed) - Not necessary but a super nice to have! The hospital will provide a towel (but it's small and not so comfy). Bring your own, jumbo towel preferably in a dark color or printed so it's easy to identify from the hospital ones.
✔ Extra Clothes - Pack a few extra clothes for unexpected situations.
✔ Small Blanket - To make the hospital cozier if it gets cold. Make sure to bring the one you usually use at home to give you that familiar comfort when you're having a hard time sleeping.
✔ Comfy, Going Home Outfit - A maxi dress or sweats paired with a shirt would be best. Anything you have that's loose and comfy will do.
✔ Postpartum Supplies - Check with your hospital if they will be providing these items. If not, a few Tucks pads and disposable undies are a must.
COVID-19 Update: The CDC recommends pregnant women to wear a face mask or face shield when going to the hospital. However, children aged 2 years old and below or those who have trouble breathing, aren't required to wear face coverings.
✔ Receiving Blanket - An absolute essential on your baby hospital bag checklist! This is something you can wrap your baby in to keep him or her warm and toasty.
✔ Burp Cloths & Bibs - Comes very handy when feeding, changing, or cleaning after your baby.
✔ Zip / Velcro Swaddle - The perfect and cozy way to securely swaddle your newborn babe.
✔ Cute, Going Home Outfit - Make sure to bring different size clothes. You never know how teeny tiny or yummy and chubby they'll be!
✔ Footed Onesies - These are easier to put on your newborn. Bring a couple different sizes preferably in newborn and 0 to 3 months.
✔ Mittens - These will keep your baby from scratching their skin or yours with their long fingernails. It also prevents their tiny little hands them from getting cold.
✔ Socks - Very important especially when the temperature drops. Always make sure your little one is comfy and warm, but not overheated.
✔ Newborn Hats - Another essential whether it's hot or cold. It's an important piece of clothing that helps retain heat and keeps your baby warm and cozy from the cold and keeps their head protected from too much sun exposure.
✔ Pacifiers - These are optional as some newborns may find it easier to suck on a pacifier while some don't. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) generally recommends waiting up to four weeks before using a pacifier. Read more about that here.
✔ Baby Nail File - You may get scratched without this.
Pro Tip: Babies have sensitive skin! Wash a couple of your baby's new clothes before using them to be extra sure. Don't forget to use hypoallergenic, fragrance free detergent!
✔ Formula - Pack a small bottle of formula just in case you'll need it.
✔ 3 to 5 Bottles (Sterilized) - Wash a few bottles at home and sterilize them before packing in your hospital bag. Even breastfeeding moms need to be prepared and pack a few bottles just in case.
✔ Extra Teats (Sterilized) - Make sure to choose the right teat size for your baby's bottle.
✔ Breast Pump - It's necessary in some situations especially when you can't be with your baby at all times. Like when he or she is in the NICU or when he or she can't latch for some reason.
✔ Dish Soap & Bottle Brushes - In case you need to stay in the hospital a bit longer, best be prepared!
✔ Boppy Pillow - Allows you to breastfeed or bottle feed your baby more comfortably.
Remember: travel size toiletries are your friends.
✔ Facial Wash / Facial Cleansing Wipes - Keep your face fresh and clean when you cuddle and kiss your little one. Your partner will also probably take a lot of photos so don't say we didn't warn you!
✔ Soap / Body Wash - Pack your favorite brand or the one you usually use at home and you'll be just fine.
✔ Shampoo & Conditioner - You would definitely want a shower after a long labor. Pack the ones you usually wash your hair with at home.
✔ Dry Shampoo / Leave-in Conditioner - If you don't feel like taking a shower before and after labor, pack a bottle of dry shampoo or leave-in conditioner to tame your mane.
✔ Lanolin / Nipple Cream - To soothe and provide relief during and after breastfeeding your baby.
✔ Dermoplast - This numbing spray helps soothe skin irritation and relieve pain and itching around cuts after having a vaginal birth.
✔ Peri Bottle - This one works so much better than the one the hospital provides.
✔ Moisturizer - You are one beautiful momma and you need to take care of your skin as you will take care of your darling babe. Moisturize like crazy, if you will.
✔ Deodorant - You would definitely want to smell fresh when you leave the hospital and come home to the whole fam waiting for you and the baby.
✔ Lip Balm - Hospital air can dry your lips and also, you wouldn't want to kiss your little one with chapped lips now, would you?
✔ Toothbrush / Toothpaste - No explanation needed!
✔ Brush / Comb - Look presentable for the 'gram!
✔ Hair Clip / Hair Ties - For tying your hair during labor or just to generally look neat.
✔ Mini Hair Dryer - Especially needed if it’s winter time.
✔ Hand Sanitizer - The hospital has plenty of hand sanitizer but keep a bottle with you at all times.
✔ Antibacterial Wipes - For wiping surfaces and handles especially when going to the toilet.
✔ Alcohol - When water and soap is not readily available, disinfect with alcohol instead.
Pro Tip: Be keen with your hygiene especially during this time of pandemic. Observe proper hand washing using soap, disinfect and sanitize surfaces you might need to touch, avoid touching your face, etc. See more advice from CDC for pregnant women.
✔ Headphones & Spotify Playlist - Listen to relaxing music and soothing sounds to calm your nerves. It also facilitates bonding and relaxation between you and your baby by sending calming chemicals throughout the body and into the placenta. Read more about the benefits of playing music in the womb here.
✔ Eye Mask / Ear Plugs - For when it gets too loud at night, especially if you're right by the nurses' station.
✔ Smartphone / iPad - Multipurpose! For taking photos or keeping yourself distracted during labor. Make sure to download some of your favorite shows before going to the hospital.
✔ Journal / Pen - Optional, but writing can help calm your nerves and organize your thoughts. Also helpful when taking the doctor's notes, keeping track of your baby's feedings, etc.
✔ Sugar-Free Hard Candy / Lozenges - Keeps you distracted from the pain. Opt for sugar free ones so you're not dehydrated.
✔ Water Bottle - Pack your favorite refillable bottle so you won't have to constantly buy at the hospital or use those tiny paper cups they provide.
✔ Lactation Supplies - Pack some yummy lactation cookies and this tea which works wonders to increase your milk supply!
✔ Knitting Materials / Coloring Books - Not for the baby, for pain distractions.
✔ Homemade Hot Pack - Just a sock filled with beans or rice. Here's how you make your own bean bag heating pad.
✔ Squeeze Balls - Perfect to ease your labor stress.
✔ Back Massager - Great for relieving back aches and pains.
✔ Soft Pillow - Bring an extra for your partner. Make sure to bring a colored pillow case so you don't confuse it with the hospital's when going home.
✔ Lots of Snacks - Relax, your hubby doesn't need to leave you if he's got snacks packed in a small cube.
Pro Tip: Make sure that your hubby (or companion) knows where these items are located in the hospital bag. Either let them pack or let them help you pack! It's one less thing to worry about for you (mom) especially when you're going into labor.
✔ Baby Car Seat - Some hospitals won't let you leave without one. Also super important to keep baby safe on the road.
✔ Chargers - Bring one that has a really long cord so you can use your electronics while in bed if the sockets are far.
✔ Your Birth Plan and Maternity Notes - To take note of everything that you want during your labor and delivery. After all, giving birth is one of the most important events in your life.
✔ Health Insurance Information / Insurance Card - Bring a printed copy of your insurance info so you won't have to fill out paperwork when you get to the hospital.
✔ Health Info Summary - Make sure to bring along important documents containing your health information such as GBS Test, Allergies, Current Meds, etc.
✔ Hospital Registration Forms - Check if your hospital has an online pre-registration so you can expect less hassle when you get there.
✔ Camera / Extra Batteries - When your phone's camera just won't cut it. Make sure to bring extra batteries or charger.
Pro Tip: Place all important documents in one folder so you can easily access them when needed.
To keep you from overpacking and bringing unnecessary items in your hospital bag, we thought it might be best to let you know the things you can leave behind at home. Let's keep that hospital bag as light as possible!
✔ Jewelry and Other Accessories - All these will just be removed when you go through labor. Best to leave them safe at home than having to worry if they get stolen or lost. If you wore your everyday accessories to the hospital, better store them in a travel jewelry roll for safekeeping.
✔ Diapers - Double check with your hospital if they provide diapers and wipes. Most US hospitals do! Just make sure you've got loads of them in your house when you bring the baby home (or if you live outside the US).
✔ Books - Even if you prefer printed publications or softbound books, you will be too distracted to read a word so might as well leave them behind. If reading relaxes you, opt for eBooks instead to keep it light.
✔ Postpartum Underwear - Hospitals usually provide free mesh, stretchy underwear and pads after delivery. They're not so fashionable but hey, nobody but you will see them anyway.
✔ Curling Iron and Hair Straightener - Styling your hair will probably the last thing on your mind while in labor. A few hair ties or clips will do to keep your hair mess free while you give birth.
✔ Baby Toys - Your newborn would be too young to play with them. Just save them in the nursery room for when they're old enough to play.
✔ Extra Meds - You're at the hospital so the last thing you'll need to worry about is packing your own medicine kit. The doctors are going to give you the medications and vitamins you need.
✔ Laptop - You can check your emails through your phone so it's more convenient.
Organizing Your Hospital Bag with EzPacking Cubes
If you’re not a fan of carrying two bags, the best way to sort your things (and save space) from your baby’s belonging is to use EzPacking cubes. Get two colors -- grey for you and pink for her.
Color coding is the best way to easily identify your belongings. Packing them in clear cubes is the best way to easily spot and grab your essentials readily whenever you need them. It also makes it easier for your hubby (or companion) to identify and grab things as you need them!
Here's how you can use each cubes for your hospital bag:
✔ Extra Small Cubes - Perfect for your hospital toiletries / hygiene kit, bras & undies, compression socks, and snacks; baby's mittens, beanies, and tiny socks.
✔ Small Cubes - Great for organizing your bathrobe, birthing and coming home outfits, and baby's receiving blanket and clothes / onesies.
✔ Medium Cubes - Perfect storage for your sweat towels, blankets, pregnancy pants and leggings, and your partner's change of clothes.
We hope this hospital bag checklist for mom and baby helps you prepare your labour bag for success! Woot woot!
You should be so proud of how far you’ve come - carrying a baby for almost nine months is no joke. You’re basically Super Woman by now. Feel like the powerful woman that you are and be overly prepared! You got this mama.